Record Breaking Year With Nearly 420,000 Visitors

February 09 2023 | Castle Garden

Hever Castle & Gardens topped its best ever visitor numbers in 2022 with a record breaking year.

Last year 419,969 people visited the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, an increase of 8% on the previous year.

In the Castle they were able to enjoy the first in a series of exhibitions detailing the life and times of Anne Boleyn 500 years to the day she made her debut at court in 1522.

The exhibition – Becoming Anne: Connections, Culture, Court – which ran from March to November explored the factors that moulded Anne’s character and also the rise and fall of the Boleyn family.

Anne’s early life at Hever Castle was charted along with her relationship with her family, her education at Hever, in the Netherlands and France.

In the grounds families had a chance to be creative with new event, Art Week during May half term.

They learnt about works of art, entered a painting competition, dug for mosaic pieces, created a bookmark and searched for paintings in the gardens.

Some facts about Hever Castle from 2022:

• 7,852 rooms were booked in the luxury 5* bed and breakfast with 26,208 pillow cases changed by housekeeping
• 99 new members joined Hever Castle Golf & Wellbeing with 681,375 balls hit on the driving range
• 19,136 average acres mowed on the golf course and 18,480 hours of labour spent maintaining the gardens
• 726 hours cleaning the castle
• 56 weddings
• 26,208 group visitors (highest since 2015)
• 14,783 bags of bird food sold

Hever Castle & Gardens CEO, Duncan Leslie, said: “ Considering the events of the last few years I am particularly happy to report a record breaking year for visitor numbers at Hever Castle & Gardens. Thank you so much to our regular visitors for their ongoing support and also those who chose to come and visit for the first time. The record numbers are down to the hard work and commitment of all of our staff across the departments, who strive to ensure those who come here have excellent customer service.”

Following on from the top visitor numbers news, Hever Castle & Gardens is now gearing up for another busy season starting with Snowdrop Walk from 8 February and Emerging Nature during February half term (11 – 19 February).

visitor numbers

Visitors will also have a chance to view new exhibition: ‘Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers’ which sees for the first time in likely 500 years two prayer books belonging to two of Henry VIII’s wives reunited and displayed together.

From Wednesday 8 February 2023 (until 4 June 2023) a 1527 prayer book belonging to Catherine of Aragon on loan from the Morgan Library in New York will be available for visitors to see alongside the 1527 Book of Hours which belonged to Anne Boleyn, already on display in the Castle.

This is likely the first time in nearly 500 years that the prayer books will be together under the same roof, since their original ownership by Queen Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn in 1528.

Along with the Book of Hours visitors can see a previously unexhibited panel portrait of Catherine of Aragon and replicas of the coronation robes and crown of Elizabeth I and Mary I which may also have been used by Anne and Catherine at their coronations.

The coronation robes which were made for the 1998 film “Elizabeth” and worn by Cate Blanchett will now be on display in the Castle’s King Henry VIII’s Bedchamber.

The exhibition will also include a 16th century panel, originally from Dunstable Priory, featuring the combined emblem of King Henry VIII’s Tudor rose, fused with Queen Catherine of Aragon’s emblem of a pomegranate.

For centuries Catherine and Anne have been pitted against each other as love rivals with their differences celebrated. This new exhibition (which runs from February 2023 to November 2023); ‘Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers’ showcases the similarities between Catherine and Anne and through new research shows that Catherine owned the very same copy of the prayer book that Anne had.

Events throughout the year include Easter, Jousting, Halloween and Christmas with discounts and priority booking for annual members. With 150 acres of award winning gardens, two Mazes, exciting play areas, two cafes and picnic spots aplenty there is so much to entertain the family for the whole day.

Visitors can prebook tickets or buy annual membership here